2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday he is open to selecting a Republican running mate to join him on the ticket if nominated this summer.
“Our 21-year-old son said the other night, ‘I wonder if Joe Biden would consider choosing a Republican as a running mate,’” one woman asked Biden during a New Hampshire town hall.
“The answer is I would, but I can’t think of one now,” Biden responded. “You know there’s some really decent Republicans that are out there still, but here’s the problem right now…they’ve got to step up.”
It was a smart line from Biden, allowing the former vice president to appear bipartisan on par with his brand as the deceptively moderate voice in an extremist primary while refraining from commitment.
Despite Monday’s comments, Biden is all but certain to choose a Democrat to join him on the ticket. No major party presidential nominee in modern American history has chosen a member of the opposing party for the vice-presidential slot. The closest a candidate ever came was former Republican Arizona Senator John McCain putting independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman who caucused with the Democrats on the party’s ticket in 2008 before opting for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Regardless, “Republican VP” began trending almost immediately after Biden made the news. Some on Twitter were quick to write Biden’s comments off as politically savvy rather than literally highlighting a flagrant double-standard held against Trump, whose every word is taken for its precise worth.
The degree to which this web site takes everything Biden says literally, as opposed to politically, is odd.
He's not going to choose a Republican VP. He thinks it's good politics to signal that he'll work with Republicans if they'll meet him halfway. He's probably right.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) December 30, 2019
With just a month to go until the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses slated to be held on Feb. 3, Biden remains the clear frontrunner in national polls but has dropped to third in the Hawkeye state according to Real Clear Politics’ latest aggregate of polls. The Real Clear aggregate also puts Biden in third in New Hampshire, the first primary to follow Iowa. Biden still leads comfortably however in Nevada and South Carolina.